Did you know that some schools are prohibiting the use of microwaves by students? According to the Dept. of Agriculture, which governs the Child Nutrition Programs (providers of school meals), food preparation and reheating should ONLY occur in inspected food prep areas. That means no microwaves in classrooms, cafeterias, or anywhere that students can use them—only in kitchens, where trained staff utilize them. This past summer, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) partnered with Child Nutrition to train school cafeteria staff on these guidelines (which are apparently NOT new). In particular, they addressed food preparation in classrooms for students who need pureed food using blenders; they also talked about eliminating classroom refrigerators and microwaves for student use. While I understand the need for proper sanitation, I guess the idea of reheating lunch does not seem too risky to me. Properly cleaning a blender or other food preparation equipment is very important, especially to immune-compromised children; I can understand requiring professional preparation and washing for this.
Does your child need specific foods heated in a microwave—maybe needs popcorn for a motivator, or has to eat pizza for lunch? One way around this newly-enforced rule might be to have the use of a microwave on your child’s IEP as a functional goal (said a little bird from DPI).
Still, I noticed that there is still a microwave in my son’s cafeteria. Maybe this hasn’t spread to all schools yet (although we were notified of this problem by a parent)? I wouldn’t mention this to my child’s school unless/until it becomes a problem there…and then I’d amend my child’s IEP to work around it!Tags: autism education